Friday, January 30, 2015

Three Tips for Getting to Know and Love Wine

Although a huge portion of the world's population drinks wine, many of us have no idea what's actually inside the bottle in front of us. But the fact is that there are over ten thousand different grape varieties that can be made into wine, and dozens of countries producing wines of every shape and size.

... and color.

Wines, you see, don't just come in red and white. They also come in sorted shades of pink and even orange and brown (but we're getting way ahead of ourselves here).

The fact is that the world of wine is unknown and misunderstood by the typical wine consumer.

So what's an aspiring wine lover to do when faced with mountains of drinking options in the wine shop?

Here's a suggestion: don't stay in your comfort zone. Move beyond the 1980s, and stop ordering a glass of generic Chardonnay or Cabernet. Not that there is anything wrong with either of those grape varieties. But if you'd like to find a happy medium between the blissfully ignorant wine consumer, and the know-it-all wine snob, then here's what you need to do:

Know some basic rules

It's commonly understood that white wines go with fish and white meat, and that red wines go with red meat. But that's only the beginning of the story. Wines which are made to go alongside food have a tremendous range of capabilities. In fact, it's possible to find terrific pairings that totally go against the conventional wisdom and old school rules. So instead of pairing based on color, try thinking about dominant flavors in dishes or the weight and texture of a particular dish... and then find wines that work well in tandem with those traits.

What does that mean? Well how about pairing an earthy, soulful salmon and mushroom dish with and earthy, soulful Pinot Noir? Blasphemy? Not in today's wine world.

Know it's okay not to know

Too many of us feel like we need to posture about our wine knowledge and wine experience. You see that sommelier heading toward the table and you start grasping for wine words you read in a magazine or attempt to impersonate a scene you saw in some movie.

Look, not everyone is expected to know about wine. And the sommelier isn't there to quiz you on your knowledge. They are there to help you make good decisions that fit your taste and budget. So do yourself a favor and humble up and ask a few questions if you need to.

Enjoy the experience

Wine doesn't need to be approached academically by most of us. So don't worry about studying up, and focus on enjoying the wine experience.

Take note of the characteristics you like and what things you don't like... and use that new knowledge to increase your future enjoyment by exploring more and more new wines that fit your preferences.

Now that you know... Look, wine doesn't have to be stuffy or complicated. If you want to expand your knowledge even further, grab yourself a copy of David Baer's Pairing Cheat Sheet so you can enjoy wine without having to become an expert. Brought to by David Baer - Wine Educator & Marketer
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